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InOrbit 2020 Vision

Florian Pestoni

The start of a decade is always a good excuse for predictions. After all, who’s going to remember 10 years later if you were right? For us at InOrbit, we are setting a goal and making a prediction that will determine the fate of our company and the broader robotics industry. We fully expect to be held accountable to it.

We recently got together as a team to work on our 2020 Vision (yes, pun fully intended) to guide us through the decade we are just kicking off. As part of this we have committed all our energy and passion behind a BHAG: a big, hairy and audacious goal. If you are not familiar with the concept of BHAG (pronounced “bee hag”), it’s a term popularized by Jim Collins, of Good to Great fame, to capture a simple goal that help align a whole organization.

Normally, companies keep their BHAG to themselves, as it’s primarily an internal goal. However, at InOrbit we are doing much more than just building a great company: we are a catalyst for a whole industry that is on the verge of exponential growth. So we’ve decided to share our BHAG with the world to help align ourselves with other companies… yes, even our competitors.

Our BHAG for this decade is

1,000,000 robots positively impacting

the lives of 1,000,000,000 people.

Let’s break this down: at InOrbit, we track the number of robots under management through our Monthly Active Robots metric (or MARs for short.) Seeing 1M MARs will mean that we are helping hundreds of service robotics companies through massive growth and scale. That will mean our business is doing great, but that’s not enough for us.

Going back to our original vision, we believe that the combination of people, robots and AI in the cloud can tackle some of humanity’s biggest challenges. Therefore, we’ve included a “do well by doing good” component to our core goal, even if it’s harder to measure. 1 billion people will be positively impacted, whether through food grown with fewer or no pesticides, more affordable housing or more sustainable access to products.

Compare this with another well-known lofty goal, commonly used as the gold standard for BHAGs: President Kennedy’s proclamation on May 25, 1961, “that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” This had the effect of energizing NASA and people around the world following their effort.

While we’re on the topic of NASA, we’re excited to have been accepted into the Space Robotics Challenge Phase 2. This competition is focused on coordinating the activity of multiple robots to support ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization), in other words using space-based resources for human missions in deep space. However, the applications go well beyond space exploration and may impact operations in other hostile or hard-to-reach environments, like underwater or in toxic environments.

With a name like InOrbit and our team’s expertise in managing robots at scale, this is a perfect fit for us. We hope to do well and learn along with the other participating teams.

Before this decade is over, we may even have some MARs on Mars.